Right away while maneuvering our way through the airport I noticed a huge mural on the wall that said simply One Love. It drew my attention, I paused for a moment thinking about what it meant...One Love. We left the airport and loaded onto a bus for transport to our resort. The bus driver was super friendly and during our ride mentioned how we are all one, specifically mentioning one love and one family. Yeah man one family man. Everywhere in Jamaica the t-shirts, etc. had on them Jamaica, One Love. I was already starting to love Jamaica, what a powerful message! How super cool would it be to have your country's theme be one love?!
You see I believe that we are all one. Yes, we are each unique individuals, but we are also all one. I also believe in love and that love creates everything. Love is the underlying fabric upon which we are made, upon which the universe is made. To experience love in ourselves and others is the meaning of life. One love, one heart, one family...we are one. The book, A Return to Love, states it this way, "God is the love within us. God is love. We were created in His image, or mind, which means that we are extensions of His love." We are one, one love. Powerful message Jamaica, love it!!!
The bus driver also began honking/tooting his horn every block or so. Now back home if someone is honking at you, it's not generally a good thing. It typically means someone is frustrated or annoyed at something you are doing. In Jamaica is was a friendly gesture, a hello, that was used frequently on the bus ride to say "hey, I'm happy to see you today" to fellow drivers. What is usually something I would cringe at quickly became something that was cheerful. Funny how things can change in a different culture, from something negative to something that is positive.
As we exited the bus, we gave the driver a tip and he "bumped" our hands and said "respect man". It's a phrase we heard often during our trip...respect man. How often do we actually say those words here at home? Sure it's often implied, but it seems to me that there is value and meaning to actually verbalizing and acknowledging things, in particular something like respect. Love it, respect man.
Usually when we take a vacation we are attempting to get away from the daily grind of our lives. We desire to relax and reenergize and maybe have an experience. So, when you go to a resort on vacation the vast majority of vacationing people are carefree, happy, loose, that's understandable. What amazed me is that the employees of the resort were also carefree, happy and loose. Yeah I get it, it's their job to be of service and to make sure we have a nice vacation, but it was more than that. They were not uptight and giving us a fake or forced smile, they were genuinely light, they laughed easily and were playful, looking to have a good time and to enjoy our presence. They consistently felt lighter than what people back home feel. No worries man.
While traveling the countryside of Jamaica it's clear that there is a lot of poverty and a big difference in housing, transportation, electricity, and other typical luxuries that are fairly commonplace in the U.S.. This didn't seem to impact the happiness of the individuals we interacted with. I love how Marianne Williamson writes about this in A Return to Love, she says, "Meaning doesn't lie in things. Meaning lies in us. When we attach value to things that aren't love-the money, the car, the house, the prestige-we are loving things that can't love us back. We are searching for meaning in the meaningless. Money, of itself, means nothing. Material things, of themselves, mean nothing. It's not that they're bad. It's that they're nothing." The Jamaican people seemed to be happy even with their modest means.
While sitting on our tour bus waiting for everyone to load up, I observed an accident scene. The accident had taken place a few minutes prior and for the next 30 minutes I watched the participants of each vehicle interact with each other. Our tour guide told us that in Jamaica they don't call the police or involve insurance companies when they have an accident. They settle it right away amongst themselves. It was interesting to witness the negotiations. Everyone seemed calm, like they were having an everyday conversation. They appeared to be working together to figure things out. Not gesturing and yelling and looking all heated and frustrated, just calm, cool and collected, respectful. I was trying to envision how this would play out back at home. Would we be calm and cooperative with one another after having an accident? Hmmm...
I was reminded of some important lessons while in Jamaica. We are one, one love, one heart, so let's get together and feel all right. Be light, enjoy the presence of others, laugh easily, be playful, verbalize your respect, don't be afraid to say "hey, I'm happy to see you". The daily grind doesn't have to be something we drudge through all uptight and stressed. The same amount of work can get done while being playful and light. Make the choice to feel good now and to be light with life. Remember that money and material things do not buy you happiness. Be calm, understanding, compassionate and cooperative with each other, recognize that we are all one and that we are each trying to do our very best.
Reflections of Jamaica...reflecting to gain insight...to see the lessons. Thank you Jamaica, I heard you, I get it.